TOKYO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Fans will now be able to bring food into World Cup stadiums in Japan after the organizing committee admitted that the service at some venues was “not befitting” that of a showpiece event.
There were lengthy queues for both food and beverages at stadiums during the opening weekend with some vendors completely running out of some food options.
In an unusual move for a major sporting event, the organisers will now allow fans to bring in “a reasonable amount of food” into the stadiums, starting with Monday’s match between Wales and Georgia in Toyota City.
“The opening weekend has demonstrated that the level of service is not befitting that of a Rugby World Cup with some fans experiencing queuing delays and some vendors prematurely running out of some food options,” the organisers said in a statement.
“With fan experience a major priority, the organising committee, in consultation with World Rugby, has taken the decision to allow fans to bring a reasonable amount of food into the venue for personal consumption from today.”
“As per normal for a Rugby World Cup, fans will not be able to bring beverages into venues.”
It is normal for fans in Japan to be able to bring their own food, and in some cases beverages, into stadiums for sporting occasions but this was not the case for the opening seven matches across the World Cup’s opening weekend.
Stadiums running out of food options comes despite years of planning and warnings from World Rugby specifically about the stocking of refreshment at stadiums.
Organisers say that the inclusion of beer hawkers bringing drinks to fans in their seats, another common feature of the Japanese sport viewing experience, has meant that the demand for beverages has been met.
“Beer and soft drinks provision has been significantly increased in venues, including the provision of free water stations, and is successfully meeting requirements,” added the statement.
Before the tournament began, organisers predicted up to 100,000 glasses of beers could be consumed at each match. (Reporting by Jack Tarrant in Tokyo, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)